Five years into the exploration for natural gas in the Fayetteville Shale, most Arkansans know about the hydraulic fracturing process and its links to environmental havoc, including poisoned wells and radioactive wastewater in various parts of the United States and increased earthquakes here in Arkansas. Now, a mushrooming side industry is beginning to attract national attention.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
Kroger stores in the black and minority communities of Little Rock look like they are in Soweto, South Africa, in the '60s, particularly the one on East Roosevelt, compared to the designer stores on the fairer side of town, the more affluent side, with folks running up to customers with samples to eat.
There are always Arkansas lawmakers who want more guns in circulation, and the Newtown, Conn., massacre only whetted their appetite for additional firepower. Elsewhere, this would seem counterintuitive, like asking for more flu. In Arkansas, though, tightly controlled by the National Rifle Association, it is all too predictable.
Expansion of Medicaid — that is, providing better health care for more poor people — is exactly the sort of thing that Winthrop Rockefeller espoused in the late 1960s, when he was Arkansas's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
So much easier it is to legislate based upon myth and agreeable fancy than upon hard reality. Simple, half-baked remedies serve the former well, but they wreak havoc when they are introduced into the real world.
I thought it odd to see this item in the daily paper: "Because the stock markets were closed Tuesday for New Year's Day, there is no business section in today's edition." Odd not because the markets were closed — they do that from time to time — but because a newspaper referred to "today's edition."
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or perhaps a corrupted MP3, this year's passel of showcase entries has once again proven that Arkansas is loaded with talented musicians. We had dozens of entries, and as with previous years, it was tough to winnow them down. But there's only room for 20.
Also, Drive-By Truckers at Revolution, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Revolution, Pujol and Diarrhea Planet at Stickyz, Knuckfest at Downtown Music, The Main Thing: 'The Last Night at Orabella's' at The Joint and the ASO at Robinson Center Music Hall.
Return with us, ye mortals, to a time called the early 1970s. A simpler time! No cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet. Just lots of dudes with questionable facial hair, cars that looked like Cleopatra's pleasure barge, iffy fashion choices for both sexes and the stench of Old English cologne.